A weird mid-day article round up.
It’s another Champions League group stage day, huzzah to the shopkeep!
The Score’s own Ben Lyttleton has a great single article round up of what to look for today without any of the usual obnoxious bells-and-whistles that accompany these kind of things.
Today’s must-read is Daniel Taylor’s article on Gary Neville as pundit. The embarrassing truth is that he is the ultimate football freak: a former player who doesn’t expect to be paid bags of cash to sit there and say things like “Class finish, that.” I say embarrassing because many of us with the fat bums in the chairs didn’t think he’d have it in him. “AHAHAHAHHHHAHAHHA” in last year’s Champions League semi aside, Neville’s long-winded tactical breakdowns have really sliced through the usual TV slop.
Anyhoo, the piece is more focused on his adroit handling of the “Rio Question,” seeing as he’s also England manager Roy Hodgson’s assistants, which is weird. We need more like him.
Also on the Guardian, Jonawils on high-spending, fractious Zenit’s difficult visit to Milan. The teams kind of mirror each other; Milan fell apart with two high profile player exits, and Zenit can’t seem to deal with being a club that buys awesome players. So an Italian manager is god to you but you don’t like freaking Hulk? You don’t deserve him.
And Jamie Jackson madlibs an article about diving in the Premier League, wondering whether the NBA holds the answer to ‘fixing’ it. It doesn’t. Move along.
Michael Cox is all up on the ESPNs with an article on the newest Three Tenor phenom: Chelsea’s Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, who have collectively propelled the club’s midfield from Ed Emberley straight to Jackson Pollock in terms of raw creativity this season. He notes along with everyone else that it’s still “a work in progress,” but even in it’s infant state, it’s awesome to look at.
Cox also doesn’t mention it directly, but the irony must be dawning on Roman Abramovic that the sexy, Barca-esque Chelsea he’s been pining for all these years seems to be arriving via West Brom’s ex-gaffer.
Finally, David Swan says it and needs repeating: IF YOU WANT TO BE AWESOME SERIE A, FIX YOUR GODDAMN STADIUMS. SEE: JUVE.